Independence Day Reflections

A suggestion for this post came a few days ago from one of our Treepers. I think it is a wonderful idea, especially for today, and during these times.

I will just copy here a portion of her letter to me.

My friend, Jack is the father of four sons… and at the end of an email about his sadness over the dismantling of the statues of Washington and Lincoln, he mentioned that he and his boys had just been listening to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and then he commented that “pretty soon, they’ll come for that, too.”

They very well could.

It made me think….what if they come for it all—all of our stories and poems and songs and books and movies, but each one of us could save something….what would it be? (Like Dolly Madison saved the portrait of Washington from the burning White House).

So, I wonder if Treepers would contribute to an “American cultural treasure chest” by suggesting the title of a poem, story, book, movie, song, or even of a photo or painting that was an important part of his or her own growing up. I’d be glad to collect all the suggestions together into something Jack and other parents and grandparents could share with their children and grandchildren as a way of connecting them to American history and culture—through the eyes of ordinary American people.

I was just reading …“Casey at the bat,” and I would definitely save that. It was the first poem that ever made me cry. And the book my mother read to me over and over again when I was very little, “The Little Engine that Could.” And Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” And all of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. And “Gone With the Wind.”

I wonder what bits of your own cultural history you would save?

If people are planning to be with friends and family this 4th of July weekend, the question might be a great conversation starter.

So, I pass on this idea, and a few thoughts.

If it is worth saving, it is worth sharing, teaching, discussing, promoting. Lots of us are feeling that we should do something to stop the insanity going on in this country right now, but not sure exactly where to start or what to do.

At 62, with no real talents except cooking and pissing people off left and right, I have now reached the Don’t Give a Red Hot Damn stage in my life, and I feel I do not have a lot to lose in the battles to come, which for me have mostly been fought on social media. Should things escalate I would imagine that there are more than a few cantankerous old people who are also at that stage.

But I do have one other talent and ability, perhaps the most important of my life. I can teach, and I love to, although I am not a professional and have no degree in teaching. I have tutored my own and other kids along the way, and now I have grandchildren.

Those grandchildren will learn things from me. It is time I gave more thought to what exactly I want to spend time teaching them. Of course I have always had books here for them, and my eight year old granddaughter, who loves to read, just asked me to get some longer books to keep here for her. I bought Heidi and Swiss Family Robinson a few months ago. I also keep children’s religious stories and books, and since she had her First Holy Communion recently,  a Bible for her, and some more advanced books dealing with her studies to prepare her for the Sacrament.

So, my point is this. Education and knowledge and influence are weapons and we have the ability to use them. I have a lot of time with my grandchildren, and today is the day to make a little more time for important things, and I don’t just mean books.

I’ve taught some of the kids some cooking basics, as well as started teaching them to bake breads. My husband is a genius at fixing any and everything, and a very good mechanic. He has always taken the time to answer the kids’ questions and let them help him with his projects, and fixing their own broken things.

What talents, skills, and knowledge can you pass on? I might even think about volunteering as a tutor in inner city schools. There are lots of places that people with good intent can pass on what we have to share.

Happy 4th of July Treepers!

Added note: Please read the post. There is a reason for it. It isn’t another post for political rage, sarcasm, anger, and insults. The Treeper who suggested this is going to compose a listing of all your ideas that might be shared. Do we have to make her sort through rants?

This entry was posted in Celebrations, Election 2020, History, Treehouse Campfire, Uncategorized, USA. Bookmark the permalink.

774 Responses to Independence Day Reflections

  1. gary says:

    growing up , i read ‘Call of the Wild’ wanted to head for alaska after that. read ‘Guadalcanal Diary’ in fourth grade. box of books my parents got a a garage sale. ‘Thirty Seconds over Tokyo ‘ was in box too.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Keith D. Rodebush says:

    My 1:
    “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” by Rudyard Kipling

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Johnny Dollar says:

    For all; but, especially for those with Italian heritage.

    A Bell for Adano – John Hersey – A small town in 1943 allied (US) occupied Italy

    1945 Pulitzer Prize

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cheering4america says:


    Personal albeit fictional perspective of a real historical event.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Lisette says:

    Love ❤️ this idea…

    I think I can share some photographs
    America…The Beautiful 🇺🇸
    Let me know who to contact?
    Thank you,

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Lucille says:

    Thanks, Menagerie. What a great project.

    I’d like to have included countless volumes of information on our American warriors. For example….

    Copies of magazines from 1938-1950: “Life”, “Look”, “The Saturday Evening Post”, “National Geographic” for the wonderful photos provided to the populace about World War II and it’s aftermath. These were my favorite reading material as a child and teen.

    The website: Congressional Medal of Honor Society which relates the stories of each recipient…

    The film “Hacksaw Ridge” by Mel Gibson, about the life of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

    The videoed speech former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia gave on June 26, 2019–the day after being presented the Medal of Honor–as he was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes for conspicuous gallantry in November 2004 during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.

    June 26, 2019
    This is the most remarkable speech given by a Medal of Honor recipient in the history of the Medal. Beautiful, heartfelt, generously inclusive, and truthful.

    The book “House To House: A Soldier’s Memoir” by David Bellavia with John R. Bruning

    This photo of USMC 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal…

    …and the explanation…

    Liked by 5 people

  7. teabag14 says:

    TV shows “Sing Along With Mitch” and “Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade”.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fergus Boone says:

    Anything by Kipling, any book about the Alamo, Lee’s Lieutenants, the biographies of Booker T. Washington, Andrew Jackson, Stonewall Jackson, Carnegie. Movies such as “A pocketful of miracles, A wonderful Life, the Cowboys, The Long Grey Line, Rudy. The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas specials.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Robyn Zamparelli says:

    Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”

    Liked by 5 people

  10. “Looking for Me “

    By Me

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chieftain says:

    Music: America (My Country Tis of Thee)
    Poem: Over the River & Through The Woods
    Dance: Dance Class from Swing Time (Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers)
    Infant’s Story: The Little Red Hen
    Children’s Story: The Mystery of Cabin Island
    Adult: Mere Christianity

    Liked by 3 people

  12. directorblue says:

    Three books I would recommend for any home-schooling in U.S. history:

    * Six Frigates – the founding of the U.S. Navy
    * The Killer Angels – Gettysburg in raw, horrific detail
    * The Longest Day – D-Day

    Have a great 4th, all!

    Liked by 4 people

    • daveokc says:

      I recently read “A Bridge Too Far” by Cornelius Ryan, the same author that wrote “The Longest Day”. Highly recommended.

      I now have The Longest Day on my shelf, waiting to be read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ATheoK says:

        Add to that:

        “Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest” – by Stephen Ambrose

        “A time for Trumpets” Which tells the true story for parts of the Battle of the Bulge. Including the delaying and stop-gap efforts by undermanned under equipped troops posted to WWII’s backwaters as a major mechanized tank force swept over them.
        By ‘Charles B. MacDonald’

        “An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943” by ‘by Rick Atkinson’. Which provides detail on those glossed over North Africa battles where Americans were poorly led by the British. As a counterpoint, one should also read the history of Singapore where the British Command surrendered 250,000 troops. Troops that went on as slaves to Japan.

        “Darby’s Rangers: We Led the Way” by ‘William O. Darby’

        “The Ranger Force: Darby’s Rangers in World War II” by ‘Col. Robert W. Black’

        “Guadalcanal Diary” by by ‘Richard Tregaskis’ – An account of America putting a stop gap force into Guadalcanal. A poorly supplied force that helped stop Japan’s Pacific War campaign towards Australia.

        “directorblue says: July 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm” lists “Killer Angels” by ‘Michael Shaara’. A dramatization of real events.
        Michael’s son ‘Jeff Shaara’ continues this excellent storyline with “Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure”.
        Killer Angels was made into a rather good movie, ‘Gettysburg’ and followed several years later with “Gods and Generals
        One should keep in mind while reading this series that stories of the central heroes, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, has a miniscule portion of his Civil War service depicted in this movie. Much as Audie Murphy’s exploits in WWII are depicted as quick light military actions in movies instead of gritty nerve wracking desperate battles; Chamberlain was in the midst of and survived battles where tens of thousands died. e.g. Fredericksburg and the “Stone Wall”.

        “To Hell and Back” by ‘Audie Murphy’ – America’s most decorated WWII soldier. ” Murphy enlisted in the army in June 1942 after being turned down by the Navy and the Marines.”

        Which brings up a movie Audie starred in, “The Red Badge of Courage” authored by ‘Stephen Crane’.

        One shouldn’t forget books about the Revolutionary War, 1812, Mexican War, Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection where America’s .38 caliber pistols were insufficient and .45 caliber pistols replaced them, Vietnam and the Gulf/Afghanistan wars.


  13. HostageCalifornian says:

    I love Early American writers and short stories, most of which we learned in high school way back when. But now that my daughter is high school age, I see none of these on the recommended reading list. It matters no,t as I read these to her every night in elementary school.
    * Nathaniel Hawthorn – The Scarlett Letter, which worth a read, even just for the preface
    * Washington Irving
    * Mark Twain
    * Ambrose Bierce

    Liked by 3 people

    • HostageCalifornian says:

      Oh… And Little House on the Prairie series. Not just for girls! I thought so at first, but thoroughly enjoyed reading that with my daughter.

      Liked by 2 people

    • daveokc says:

      Another classic American short story is “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, by Stephen Vincent Benet. Appeared in the Saturday Evening post in 1936 and won the O. Henry Award.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. Susan Clouse says:

    The movies “Oklahoma” and “1776.”

    Liked by 5 people

  15. fred5678 says:

    A collection of movies and WWII documentaries of Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable — Stewart led B24 missions as a full Colonel and eventually became a Brigadier General, and Gable was a B17 waist gunner.

    Both made significant contributions to American Film and answered when called by their nation.

    Jimmy was the greatest!!

    And maybe this actor, who spied on German submarines before WWII started ??

    Liked by 2 people

    • cheering4america says:

      Your link included this line about Eddie Albert:

      “His best known television role was when he became a country farmer after being a big city lawyer in Green Acres. The show ran from 1965 to 1971 and may have ran longer if not for an edict from CBS to rid the network of country flavored shows.”

      Even then they didn’t like clean entertaining shows.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. jmclever says:

    Ansel Adams’ photography. All of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. cheryl says:

    To Kill a Mockingbird book and movie
    All the stories and pictures in archives, books, and videos from the Holocaust and its survivors
    Books of American and world history written before liberals changed it.
    All Paul Harvey audio
    The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge which happens to be the only poem I really liked.
    I love music but the one that my music teacher made every class listen to and each instrument was explained by a narrator…Peter and the Wolf…is my favorite.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. merry says:

    May I add to our cultural treasure chest one 1959 powder blue Buick convertable?

    Liked by 1 person

    • merry says:

      how about a Harley hog? an old Indian motorcycle? coal fired steam engine?
      how about the Cape Cod and Salt Box architecture?
      mini skirt? go go boots? Rhode Island Red chickens? hickory shirts? romeo shoes?
      this is such fun I could go on a very long time.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. JG3 says:

    Not sure why, shortly after posting sound troubles, last night, had sound. This morning, again, no sound? videos, youtube videos posted here. Nothing. Suggestions…much appreciated! Thanks~

    Liked by 1 person

  20. dammit_janet says:

    The Lewis & Clark Expedition. The Alamo (The first historic site I visited as a child living in Texas).

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Here’s a poem that’s traveled with me for many years. I don’t know who wrote it or where I read it, but it embedded itself into my bones and all of my nieces and nephews know it by heart.

    When the lights are flashing and the gates are down
    And the siren’s wailing in vain
    If you stay on track
    Ignoring the facts
    You can’t blame the wreck on the train.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Deplorable and Proud says:

    “Atlas Shrugged,” “In Flanders Fields,” “Gone with the Wind”

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I am preserving all the original music my sons have created and recorded, which the WHOLE WORLD needs to hear! e.g. and

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Gerry44 says:

    Thunderbolt by Robert S. Johnson

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Electra says:

    When I was in the first grade, back in the early 60s, we did a lot of singing in class. I think it was part of a standard curriculum and it consisted mostly of American folk and patriotic songs. And this was in California! Oh, how things have changed. Anyway, there are many that have stuck in my mind, but there are a few that truly moved me–mostly sad songs:

    Like Go Tell Aunt Rhodie. I don’t know if anyone else has heard this but it goes,

    Go tell Aunt Rhodie
    Go tell Aunt Rhodie,
    Go tell Aunt Rhodie’
    The Old gray goose is dead.
    She died in the mill pond,
    She died in the mill pond,
    She died in the mill pond a standing on her head.

    At six years old, I found this unutterably sad.

    I also loved the sentimental old cowboy songs, such as

    The Streets of Laredo

    Goodbye Old Paint

    Home on the Range

    Then, of course, the spirituals like Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and wonderful American Christmas songs like It’s Christmas Time in the City, or White Christmas–most of which, I believe have been purged from public schools because they refer to religion. So sad. I could sing these songs in my sleep, but a whole generation of kids are growing up with only a passing knowledge of them.

    America has always been a veritable dynamo of creation. There is so much exciting, heart-rending, passionate music from our past–I could go on for pages, but these songs are some of my earliest loves.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. OlderAndWiser says:

    Movies: It’s A Wonderful Life, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, Sound of Music, The Longest Day, and, yes, Top Gun.
    Geniuses: Alan Turing, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Adam Smith, John Von Neumann, John Nash, Claude Shannon, William Shockley….(For those who do not know, Turing, Von Neumann, Shannon, and Shockley are the most responsible for creating a digital world; Jobs was the best at popularizing that digital world. You could do a 3 hour lecture on each of these geniuses.) Obviously, there are so many more!

    This is a great project! Keep it going!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. JC1974 says:

    A.J. Langguth’s Patriots
    I’m convinced reading that book in my teens provided some of the bedrock of my beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. omyword says:

    My little contribution. From the civil war era. When Johnny comes marching home. Way back we sang this in school. And I am from the deep south. A but forgotten. My grand papa fought in France in WWI. and they sang that song when they were coming home.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Chieftain says:

    For your ” eight year old granddaughter, who loves to read, ….” I suggest:
    Milly, Molly, Mandy Storybook

    The Little Maid Series from Applewood Press (E.g. Little Maid of Ticonderoga)
    Old Granny Fox by Thornton Burgess

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Marilyn Rozelle says:

    Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton was my son’s favorite book for his early years. Mary Ann was the name of the steam shovel. Together Mike and Mary Ann had the job of digging the basement for the new town hall. They hurried along to finish the job in the time they promised, making each corner square. A crowd gathered to watch, making Mary Ann work even harder and better. Steam shovels were becoming obsolete when the book was written. It had an ending that was very satisfactory and gave the steam shovel a home with a new kind of purpose.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. David Riemenschneider says:

    The song BigBadJohn
    The Right Stuff, both the book and the movie.
    The poem The Charge of the Light Brigade


  32. Smokey Jo says:

    Happy Birthday America. To my fellow Treepers, best wishes from my family to yours.


  33. lostandfound says:

    When we traveled to my grandparents’ home back in the 50’s, we would sing the patriotic/folk songs that I never hear today. I sang them to my children, but my grands don’t seem interested. America the Beautiful, My Country ’tis of Thee, O Susanna, Suwannee River, Camptown Races, She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain, Sweet Betsy from Pike, Working on the Railroad. We counted cows and buried them in the graveyards along the way. Reading the Burma Shave signs on the fence posts was a must. But back then there were no hand-held technologies to keep us occupied. We drove with the windows open and said “yewwww” when we passed a paper mill, and we pulled off the side of the road to eat peaches right of the trees. 4th of July was a huge celebration in our small Southern town…picnics and a parade, school kids marching with flags, high school band playing, fireworks out on the waterfront…sweet memories! God bless my “family of Treepers,” God bless our POTUS and FLOTUS, and God Bless America!!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Jeff says:

    Certainly there’s a place for the great American patriot and legendary science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein. As Spider Robinson wrote in the foreword to Heinlein’s “Expanded Universe,”
    “If there is anything that can divert the land of my birth from its current stampede into the Stone Age, it is the widespread dissemination of the thoughts and perceptions that Robert A. Heinlein has been selling, disguised as entertainment, since 1939.”
    Heinlein often cited Mark Twain as his greatest inspiration. I don’t think a single novel would suffice to represent his influence so, as with Twain, it would have to be his entire body of work.
    Many of the NASA people you watched during the Space Age of the 60’s have stated that it was Heinlein, and Asimov, and Clarke, and others – in short, it was science fiction that inspired them to pursue careers in aeronautics and aerospace. They read those stories as boys, and they had a dream that they could make it happen. And they did!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. RogerThat! says:

    That the words to our national anthem was about surviving war and the battle to save Ft McHenry in Baltimore. That our pretty fireworks displays are actually reminders that our country, our freedom from tyranny, and our liberty was fought for and bled for, was earned NOT simply given to us. That Francis Scott Key’s words described this. That only a few led this effort to be free. That it only takes a determined few to make an impact to create a new start in the world for people who want a representative republic. That each generation must make their own contributions to preserve what we have. And that without those contributions, the republic and individual freedoms may very well just …fade away while people are asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. skeinster says:

    Years ago, some friends and I tried to compile a list of Fifty Movies that would explain America to a stranger- how we got here, what makes us tick, the things that make us unique among other countries. We quickly decided that fifty was too few.
    Some of our entries:
    The Birth of a Nation
    The Big Parade
    The Crowd
    The Jazz Singer
    Public Enemy
    It Happened One Night
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    Angels with Dirty Faces
    A Mickey Mouse cartoon (I voted for “The Clock Cleaners”)
    A Popeye cartoon
    A Bugs Bunny cartoon
    A Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical
    Stage Coach
    Gone With the Wind

    You get the idea…


  37. bleep21k says:

    I thought about a movie that was very important and emotional to me at a young age…

    1971 – Brian’s Song:

    Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) are teammates on the mid-1960s Chicago Bears. At a time when professional football still bears a certain amount of race-based segregation, the growing friendship between the white Piccolo and the black Sayers, as well as their wives, Joy (Shelley Fabares) and Linda (Judy Pace), becomes a symbol of harmony during the civil rights era. That bond grows stronger still when Piccolo receives some shattering and unexpected news.

    I was probably about 12 when I first saw the movie.

    Great sports movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. ElTocaor says:



  39. Just took the *Kids* outside too walk around the yard..
    HOLY COW at the fireworks!

    needless to say,,, Wildlife is in a panic.. I just had a DEER run across the yard, almosthad one knock Me down! While, also running deer in running everywhere, (More than 20).. All over the yard.. 😉


  40. skeinster says:

    My Fourth of July memories, from the early ’60’s are of the dads on our street pooling their resources, hitting the fireworks stand and putting on a display while the moms and kids ate homemade ice cream on the lawn.
    While waiting for it to get dark, we kids would indulge in the usual child favorites of snakes, fountains, blooming flowers, hens and tanks.
    Lucky for us, there were three docs on our street- my own Dad among them…

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Louis Kiesling says:

    My wife would suggest the poems of Robert Service, works that are a beautiful snapshot of a period of our nation’s history, when life was hard and dangerous.

    I would suggest old farming almanacs and farm-related publications from our government, made when the government was interested in helping rather than controlling and regulating. The soil conservation maps come to mind. The hand drawn detail and accuracy is absolutely amazing, especially considering the scope of the project. Valuable information, even today.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. F.D.R. in Hell says:

    Liked by 2 people

    • I believe that every kid in the USA (back when I grew up; born in 1949), knew that song by heart, along with the National Anthem before they were 10 years old..and understood the meaning. It’s just the way it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. RoyalCrownCat says:

    The song, Oh Shenandoah. It has a couple versions, Tennessee Ernie Ford sang it. Everything from Stephen Foster and John Phillips Sousa. Then there are the westerns – How the West Was Won. Lone Ranger and Tonto. Roy Rogers and Trigger. Gene Autry. Bonanza and Gunsmoke. About everything with John Wayne. Perhaps both versions of True Grit along with the actual book.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. eirelass says:

    The Gunsmoke tv series.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. eirelass says:

    The Gunsmoke tv series.


  46. eirelass says:

    The Gunsmoke tv series.


  47. One fortheroad says:

    Fire In The Minds Of Men.James H. Billington,just a librarian. He sums up what we are witnessing very well and how sinister this actually is.This is a fight that has roots deep in our country.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Tony says:

    Wonderful idea for serious remembrances.
    Made me think of a social studies teacher I had in the tenth grade at a HS in the mountains just west of Birmingham in ’59. Can’t remember his name ( or a lot of other things in life ) but this guy made everyone look forward to his classes and rave about the subjects.Like, one day upon our entrance, he asked “Why do you have to change the oil in your vehicle every 3000 miles?”, and went on to give an overview of an engine and the need for oil. Among the many other topics were
    Why does a bank charge interest on a loan and why you get less interest on savings, How does a checking account work, What is integrity and why it matters? Each day was a thrilling exposure to everyday things explained in a logical way that gave us confidence in handling our ever expanding lives and desires.
    People like him have more of an impact than most people realize, and that, to me, is what you are doing with this post. It has made me stop and reconsider my actions with my children and great-grandkids. Thank You!

    Liked by 3 people

  49. When I was in Jr High School we read an historical fiction novel “Johnny Tremaine” that was set in the years just beforethe Declaration of Independence was signed. It’s written for early teens, but stuck in my mind more than 50 years later. It’s not great literature, but it’s patriotically themed and worthwhile for younger kids these days. (teens of this era would probably think it’s “corny”)

    Liked by 2 people

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